HAGANE
( Hagane - The Final Conflict )
game Cover
game cartridge

©1994 Hudson Soft
©1994 Red
Release: 1994-11-18 (¥9500)
Cartridge SHVC-AHGJ-JPN
Action / Platform game

American Version country
Released in America as
HAGANE - THE FINAL CONFLICT
( SNS-AHGE-USA )

European Version country
Released in Europe as
HAGANE - THE FINAL CONFLICT
( SNSP-AHGP-XXX )
Hagane is an intense ninja-action platform game developed by Red and published by Hudson Soft. The game takes place in a futuristic steam-punk world distinctly themed on Feudal Japan. The Koma clan has plotted to turn the world into dust and their army is now ready to launch a scathing attack. The Fuma clan was severely defeated by the invader, but a wounded warrior survived the fierce assault - Hagane (meaning "steel") used to be human, but he was turned into a machine by the old priest Momochi in order to survive his fatal condition. Now encased in a cyborg shell, his ninja skills and spiritual powers are humanity's last hope. Hagane can run, jump and do forward and backward flips. He comes equipped with an arsenal of weapons - the short range Katana sword and the throwing chain can be both used at will (the latter is especially useful to grapple onto ceilings and walls, and to climb to higher grounds), whereas the explosives and Suzaku Shurikens come in limited quantities and must be replenished periodically. A limited special attack can also be unleashed to clean surrounding enemies in the blink of an eye. Hagane can use a vast array of special moves - shoulder buttons activate forward and backward flips, but pressing Y or B while charging these flips triggers special attacks, such as a flaming kick or a powerful flaming dragon punch. He can also jump and dash in the air - this last move is at the core of the gameplay and allows the mechanical ninja to escape many of the challenges the Koma clan throws at him. Hagane consists of five large areas, each divided into several sub-stages and featuring multiple mini-bosses.
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Teaser text from the American version:
Only one man alone stands to save the world from the Koma-clan and their plan to destroy the world. His name was "HAGANE". The lone survivor of the Fuma-clan, which was massacred by the Koma-clan. Brought back from the fringe of death and given a cyborg body, "HAGANE" swears vengeance against the Koma-clan.

Game Staff (Copied from the American version's end credits) :

HAGANE STAFF

Character Design
Keita Amemiya
Game Design
Osamu Tsujikawa
Main Program
Izumi Fukuda
Sub Program
Takashi Iwanaga
Graphic Design
Fumimaro Ayanokozi
Kikuo Hanami
Chaos
Carry Kun
Music
Takahito Abe
Sound Effects
Hudson Soft Team
Special thanks
Kirara
Director
Kappa Yuzawa
Producer
Masanori Wake
Hatamoto Taikusuotoko
Mitsuhiro Kadowaki
Executive Producer
Tadahiro Nakano

Created by
CA Production

Presented by
Red
Hudson Soft


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Hagane manual
Click on picture to enlarge

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Hagane somehow slipped though the cracks of popularity. I mean, come on ! A game featuring Ninjas and a Post Apocalyptic steam-punk world can only be good ! Right ? And Hagane is damn good. The graphics are magnificent, the animation is outstanding and the level design is jaw dropping. My only concern about Hagane is its punitive difficulty level - there is not much of a learning curve, the player is left from the start to face his terrifying destiny, and deaths are fast and many. Although you may be able to complete the first area without much difficulty (still is a tough nut to crack though), the other areas forward are really unforgiving. The key, I think, is to master all the special moves and their timing - the jump/dash combination is a key element in successfully tackling some of the challenges. All of this makes of Hagane a really hard experience at first - but past this frustration, it reveals itself as a delightful game, and is certainly a work of considerable aesthetic success, with beautifully laid out stages and imaginative enemies and bosses. The screenshots seen here aren't very representative of all the visual fireworks the game throws at the screen. A truly magnificent, yet difficult game.




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